For the tenth year running, the Stanislaus County Office of Education (SCOE) and the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA) Stanislaus Charter has honored outstanding classified (non-supervisory) education employees in Stanislaus County through a program called "Employees Making a Difference."
School districts throughout the county selected their own honorees and forwarded nominations to SCOE. Twenty-seven outstanding classified staff members were honored at a special reception on Jan. 24 at the Martin G. Petersen Event Center in downtown Modesto.
Three Ceres Unified School District employees were honored - Chris Browning, the lead payroll accountant; Brent Flippo, CUSD maintenance specialist; and Glinda Sterling, a Mae Hensley Junior High School paraprofessional.
Sterling was honored with the Jane Johnston Civility Award by the Education Foundation of Stanislaus County for best exemplifying the principles of civility. The award is named in honor of former SCOE Assistant Superintendent Jane Johnston, who helped launch the county-wide Choose Civility Initiative in 2010 and passed away unexpectedly in 2012.
Socheath Ok, a custodian working for the Hughson Unified School District, was also honored.
Keyes Union School District nominated ELD paraprofessional Ana Serrano for honors.
Martin Montes, a Modesto City Schools custodian working at Fairview Elementary School in south Modesto, was also honored.
"This program helps us recognize the efforts of some of our outstanding classified employees, many who are unsung heroes behind the scenes, yet critical to the education of our children," said Stanislaus County Superintendent of Schools Tom Changnon.
Employees were nominated from the following service areas: Child Nutrition; Maintenance/Operations; Office/Technical; Para Educators/Instructional Assistants; Support Services/Security; and Transportation.
Six of the 27 nominees were selected to represent Stanislaus County in the California School Employee of the Year program, coordinated by the California Department of Education. They were: Leonard Rodrigues, Foothill Horizons Outdoor Education maintenance and operations; Mary Fran Souza, Bonita Elementary office staffer; Turlock High paraprofessional Kathy Smith; Jenny DeSousa, Support/Security Services at Turlock Unified's
Medeiros Elementary; and Della Espinoza of Sylvan Elementary School's transportation services.